What it does ...
Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names.
This file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, then Windows checks the
Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to
override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed
sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local
(your) machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is its ability to block
other applications from connecting to the Internet, providing the
You can use a HOSTS file to block ads, banners,
3rd party Cookies,
3rd party page counters, web bugs,
and even most
This is accomplished by blocking the connection(s)
that supplies these little gems.
Example - the following entry 127.0.0.1
ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by that
Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the
server from tracking your movements. Why? ... because in certain cases "Ad
Servers" like Doubleclick (and many others) will try to
open a separate connection on the
webpage you are viewing.
For XP SP2 users you should see a Security Center prompt about
allowing this connection. [screenshot]
Simply click No and continue. Yes the prompts can be annoying
but at least you'll know, however you should not see these
prompts if these entries are included in the HOSTS file.
Note: this prompt only occurs if (example) *.doubleclick.net is included in the "Restricted Zone".
Google AdSense |
Now here is a 3rd party ad server opening a connection to another
3rd party ad server - Ad-Flow
More 3rd parties opening other 3rd parties:
By placing these type sites in the
this also cures most "Back
Now includes most
major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Adware/Spyware programs!
Proudly now the
#1 rated HOSTS file on the Internet! -
regularly featured on the
Komando Radio Show
The MVPS HOSTS file has been selected by
Pricelessware as "the best of the best in Freeware"
for the 2nd time ...
In many cases using a well designed HOSTS file can speed the loading of web pages by not having
to wait for these ads, annoying banners,
hit counters, etc. to load. This
also helps to protect your Privacy and Security by blocking sites that
your viewing habits, also known as "click-thru tracking"
Simply using a HOSTS file is not a cure-all against all the
dangers on the Internet, but it does provide another
very effective "Layer of Protection".
Editors Note: As time has progressed the focus of this
project has changed from just blocking ads/banners to protecting the
user from the many parasites that now exist on the Internet. It
doesn't serve much purpose if you block the ad banner from
displaying as most other HOSTS files do, but get hijacked by a
parasite from an evil exploit or download contained on
the web site. The object is to surf faster while preserving your
Security and Privacy. [more
||To view the HOSTS file in plain
text form. (602 kb) (opens in browser)
The text version also makes a terrific reference for
determining possible unwanted connections
Download: hosts.zip [right-click
- Select: Save Target As] [Updated Oct-08-2009]
This download includes a simple batch file (mvps.bat) that will
rename the existing HOSTS file to HOSTS.MVP then copy the included
updated HOSTS file to the proper location. For more information please see
readme.txt included in the download.
Windows Vista requires special instructions
When you run the (mvps.bat) batch file XP users may
see a prompt, simply click Run and continue. Once updated you
another prompt that the task was completed. Some users may see a
pop-up from certain Security programs about changes to the HOSTS
file. Allow the change ... however if you see this pop-up at any
other time ... investigate.
Download Information: (checksum info is on the HOSTS file
not the "hosts.zip")
Manual Method - Unzip in a "temp" folder and place in the appropriate installed location:
- If you are having trouble downloading or extracting the HOSTS
Note: the below locations are for the typical default paths, edit
There is no need to turn on, adjust or change any settings with
the exception of the DNS Client service (see below).
Windows automatically looks for the existence of a HOSTS file and if
found, checks the HOSTS file first for entries to the web page you
just requested. The 127.0.0.1 is the location of your computer, so
when the entry (example) "ad.doubleclick.net" is requested your
computer thinks 127.0.0.1 is the location of the file. When this file
is not located it skips onto the next file and thus the ad server is
blocked from loading the banner, Cookie, or some unscrupulous
In case you're wondering ... this all happens in microseconds,
which is much faster than trying to fetch a file from half way around
the world. Another great feature of the HOSTS file is that it is a
two-way file, meaning if some parasite does get into your system
(usually bundled with other products) the culprit can not get out
(call home) as long as the necessary entries exist. This is why it's
important to keep your HOSTS file up to Date.
Editors Note: in most cases a
large HOSTS file (over 135 kb) tends to slow down the machine.
only occurs in W2000/XP/Vista. Windows 98 and ME are not affected.
To resolve this issue (manually) open the "Services Editor"
- Start | Run (type) "services.msc" (no quotes)
- Scroll down to "DNS Client", Right-click and
- Click the drop-down arrow for "Startup type"
- Select: Manual, or Disabled (recommended) click Apply/Ok and restart. [more